Kyle Rittenhouse Gave White Supremacist Hand Symbol, Drank With 'Proud Boys' at Bar: Affidavit

Prosecutors are seeking to change the terms of Kenosha double-murder suspect Kyle Rittenhouse's bond arrangement after he was serenaded with a Proud Boys anthem and flashed white power hand symbols while posing for photos at a Wisconsin bar.
Rittenhouse was seen drinking at Pudgy's Pub in Mount Pleasant with his mother and several other people on January 5, soon after he pleaded not guilty to killing two people and injuring a third during shootings at a Black Lives Matter protest last August.

According to an affidavit filed by Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas C. Binge, Rittenhouse stayed at the pub for around 90 minutes wearing a T-shirt reading "free as f**k."

Immediately upon arriving at the bar, Rittenhouse posed for pictures while flashing the OK hand gesture—a previously innocuous symbol that has been co-opted by some on the far-right as a coded message to show support for white supremacy.

Rittenhouse was also serenaded by five members of his group at the bar singing "Proud of Your Boy," an obscure song written but rejected for the 1992 Disney film Aladdin. The court documents state that the far-right group Proud Boys was named after this song and it is sung by its members "as an anthem and for self-identification."

Rittenhouse drank three beers during the 90 minutes he was at Pudgy's Pub and "remained with these 'Proud Boys' for the entire time," the affidavit states.

Police were made aware that Rittenhouse was at the bar and obtained surveillance footage from the business to confirm his presence. However, police found Rittenhouse did not violate the conditions of his $2 million bond. Under Wisconsin law, those aged 18 to 20 can legally drink with a parent or guardian.

Prosecutors are now attempting to have the conditions of Rittenhouse's bond modified so that he is prohibited from possessing or consuming alcohol or being present in any establishment where alcohol is served.

Prosecutors are also asking that the 18-year-old be prohibited from making any public display of any "white power" or "white supremacy" signs, symbols, or hand gestures and have no contact with "any known militia members or known members of any violent white power/white supremacist groups or organizations," including the Proud Boys.

The connection of the OK hand gesture to white supremacy began as a hoax on the controversial imageboard 4Chan.

"Operation O-KKK" was aimed at tricking liberals and the media into thinking the gesture—frequently used by President Donald Trump during his public speaking—was actually promoting white supremacy as the fingers spell out WP (white power).

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said the trolling tactic became so widespread that the far-right ended up using it to actually express support for white supremacy.

The court documents note that the Proud Boys are listed as a hate group by the ADL and the Southern Poverty Law Center, with Canada considering naming them as a terrorist organization.

The Proud Boys have also been tied to the insurrection at the Capitol Building on January 6, with at least one of their leaders being arrested and charged in connection with the attack.

"The defendant's continued association with members of a group that prides itself on violence, and the use of their symbols, raises the significant possibility of future harm," the affidavit states. "Further, this association may serve to intimidate potential witnesses.

Rittenhouse is accused of two counts of first-degree intentional homicide, one count of attempted first-degree intentional homicide and two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety. He is expected to appear in court on March 10 to face the charges.

He denies the charges and claims he was acting in self-defense during the BLM protests.

Lin Wood, one of Rittenhouse's attorneys, has been contacted for comment.

Kyle Rittenhouse
Kyle Rittenhouse giving the 'OK' hand symbol at a bar in Wisconsin following his not guilty plea on January 5. Kenosha County Circuit Court